The government has declared a state of a public health emergency amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With the declaration, the government has taken precautionary measures against the virus, including instructing the public to practice social distancing and setting a curfew of three hours from 5 pm to 8 pm. These measures have affected the taxi drivers of Greater Male’ City area immensely.
In the Greater Male’ City area, there are roughly 1,200 taxi drivers operating full-time. Most of them are the only breadwinners in the family. With mass deduction in their revenue, families of these drivers are struggling to meet ends.
Revenue of each day matters to these families, as they are struggling to survive in the city with higher rents and utility bills. According to taxi drivers, during this difficult time, there are days when they get two trips maximum.
Some of them are forced to migrate back to their islands. Even though this has been suggested by an MP, it might not be the most ideal case for these drivers.
Living on an island might not be as costly as in the city, however, these families still would not have any other source of income. Even if they don’t have to pay rent in the islands, they need a source of income for basic necessities, for instance, food.
Some of them have been living in the city for a really long time, and their house on the island might not be in the most suitable form for a family to move in. As they will be moving to islands with very little money on hand, they will be struggling to renovate the house and to make a living there.
These drivers and their families’ lives aren’t getting better just because they moved to islands. Their access to good healthcare facilities and their children’s education is being compromised in this situation.
The President has predicted a boost in the economy when the situation returns to normal, however, at the moment taxi drivers are in very much need of government assistance. The government has announced that the stimulus package they will be providing will help the taxi drivers. They need to address the issues sooner and provide assistance as soon as possible. With each passing day, taxi drivers are struggling not only to pay the rent and utility bills but also to provide food to their families.